Madrasi Colony is located in the Jal Vihar area in South Delhi. As the name suggests, it is inhabited by a majority of migrants who came to Delhi from Chennai (previously known as Madras) a few years ago. These people mostly earn their livelihood by working as daily-wage labourers, carpenters, sweepers, and domestic help. They live in small huts, the roofs of which are made up of cemented chaddar and plastic sheets. The community faces a lack of basic amenities such as a proper drainage system.
Magic Bus operations started in Madrasi Colony in June 2012. There are around 300 children in this community, with girls’ enrolment at around 40%.
A friendly cricket tournament was recently organised for the children. A football match was also organised between the children of Madrasi Colony and Jal Vihar.
Irfan, the Magic Bus Training and Monitoring Officer in charge of the community, is assisted by Kuldeep, the Youth Mentor, and 20 Community Youth Leaders, of which eight are girls.
Geeta used to be enrolled in the Magic Bus programme and is now a Community Youth Leader in Madrasi Colony. Geeta comes from a very small family. Her father whitewashes houses in the daytime and, in the evenings, sells vegetables in the community. Her mother is a domestic worker.
Before joining Magic Bus, Geeta was very shy. She could not talk to anyone or express herself. The programme has helped her become more confident, she says, and adds that she finds it easy enough to converse even with strangers.
But the biggest change, says Geeta, is her involvement in sports. “Before joining Magic Bus, I was not allowed to play at all.” Today, Geeta is a part of South Delhi’s Magic Bus Football Team.
She has also encouraged others in the community to send their daughters for Magic Bus sessions.
Magic Bus has helped increase awareness about the importance of schools and possible options after schooling.
Sport for Development sessions are held every evening. On average, 60-70 children attend sessions in a day. Sessions are two hours long and are divided into three parts: